And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
The identity of phrases and ideas of this chapter with Jeremiah 23 leads to the conclusion that Ezekiel took up a well-known prophecy to enforce and apply it to his companions in exile. They probably had read Jeremiah's words as referring to others than themselves.
Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel that prophesy, and say thou unto them that prophesy out of their own hearts, Hear ye the word of the LORD;
Thus saith the Lord GOD; Woe unto the foolish prophets, that follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing!
That follow ... nothing - Better in the margin. A true prophet (like Ezekiel) spoke "the word of the Lord," and declared what he had seen "in the visions of God." These pretenders are stigmatized in scorn "prophets out of their own hearts," "seers of what they have not seen."
O Israel, thy prophets are like the foxes in the deserts.
In the deserts - Foxes find a home among ruins etc. Lamentations 5:18. So the prophets find their profit in the ruin of their country.
Ye have not gone up into the gaps, neither made up the hedge for the house of Israel to stand in the battle in the day of the LORD.
For - Or, before. In a time of siege when there are gaps or breaches in the walls, it is the part of the leaders to go up to defend them, and to throw up works to stop the in-road of the enemy. Yahweh is now assailing His people as an enemy (compare Isaiah 63:10; Job 16:11-13), and where are those who claim to be prophets, leaders of the people?
They have seen vanity and lying divination, saying, The LORD saith: and the LORD hath not sent them: and they have made others to hope that they would confirm the word.
And they have made others ... - Rather, "and they hope for the confirmation of their word." They come to believe their own lies.
Have ye not seen a vain vision, and have ye not spoken a lying divination, whereas ye say, The LORD saith it; albeit I have not spoken?
Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Because ye have spoken vanity, and seen lies, therefore, behold, I am against you, saith the Lord GOD.
And mine hand shall be upon the prophets that see vanity, and that divine lies: they shall not be in the assembly of my people, neither shall they be written in the writing of the house of Israel, neither shall they enter into the land of Israel; and ye shall know that I am the Lord GOD.
Assembly - Here "the congregation of the people." These false prophets were to be struck off from "the writing" or, the rolls, in which the names of all Israelites were registered (compare Psalm 87:6; Exodus 32:32); and therefore when the restoration Ezekiel 11:17 shall take place these men shall not have part in it.
Because, even because they have seduced my people, saying, Peace; and there was no peace; and one built up a wall, and, lo, others daubed it with untempered morter:
Wall - A partition wall; in Ezekiel 13:12, the word used is the usual word for the outer wall of a house or city. The fall of the partition wall would perhaps involve the fall of the whole house.
Untempered morter - Or, whited plaster, employed to patch up a wall, so as to give it an appearance (without the reality) of strength and beauty. Compare Matthew 23:27. In the original there is a play upon a word rendered "folly" in Jeremiah 23:13.
Say unto them which daub it with untempered morter, that it shall fall: there shall be an overflowing shower; and ye, O great hailstones, shall fall; and a stormy wind shall rend it.
Lo, when the wall is fallen, shall it not be said unto you, Where is the daubing wherewith ye have daubed it?
Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; I will even rend it with a stormy wind in my fury; and there shall be an overflowing shower in mine anger, and great hailstones in my fury to consume it.
So will I break down the wall that ye have daubed with untempered morter, and bring it down to the ground, so that the foundation thereof shall be discovered, and it shall fall, and ye shall be consumed in the midst thereof: and ye shall know that I am the LORD.
Thus will I accomplish my wrath upon the wall, and upon them that have daubed it with untempered morter, and will say unto you, The wall is no more, neither they that daubed it;
To wit, the prophets of Israel which prophesy concerning Jerusalem, and which see visions of peace for her, and there is no peace, saith the Lord GOD.
Likewise, thou son of man, set thy face against the daughters of thy people, which prophesy out of their own heart; and prophesy thou against them,
A rebuke to the false prophetesses, and a declaration that God will confound them, and deliver their victims from their snares. Women were sometimes inspired by the true God, as were Miriam, Deborah, Hannah, and Huldah; but an order of prophetesses was unknown among the people of God, and the existence of such a class in the last days of the kings of Judah was a fresh instance of declension into pagan usages.
Ezekiel 13:18-21. Render thus: "Woe to the women that" put charms on every finger-joint, that set veils upon heads of every height to ensnare souls. "Will ye" ensnare "the souls of my people," and keep your own souls alive, and will ye profane my name "among my people for handfuls of barley and pieces of bread, to slay the souls that should not die, and to" keep alive "the souls that should not live, by lying to my people" who listen to "a lie? Wherefore thus saith the Lord God, Behold" I will come upon your charms, where ye are ensnaring the souls like birds; "and I will tear them from your arms and will let the souls go" free, "even the souls" which ye are ensnaring like birds. "Your" veils "also will I tear, and deliver my people out of your hand, and they shall be no more in your hand to be" ensnared; "and ye shall know that I am the Lord."
Most ancient interpreters and many modern interpreters have understood the "pillows" (or charms) and "kerchiefs" (or veils), as appliances to which the sorcerers had resort in order to attract notice. The veil was a conspicuous ornament in the east - women whatever their "stature" (or, height) putting them on - and it was worn by magicians in order to seem more mysterious and awful.
And say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Woe to the women that sew pillows to all armholes, and make kerchiefs upon the head of every stature to hunt souls! Will ye hunt the souls of my people, and will ye save the souls alive that come unto you?
And will ye pollute me among my people for handfuls of barley and for pieces of bread, to slay the souls that should not die, and to save the souls alive that should not live, by your lying to my people that hear your lies?
Pollute me - Profane Me by your false words, which ye pretend to be from Me.
Wherefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against your pillows, wherewith ye there hunt the souls to make them fly, and I will tear them from your arms, and will let the souls go, even the souls that ye hunt to make them fly.
To make them fly - If the marginal reading "into gardens" be adopted, it must mean, Ye entice men to the gardens or groves, where magical arts are practiced. That groves were used for this purpose and for idolatrous rites is notorious.
Your kerchiefs also will I tear, and deliver my people out of your hand, and they shall be no more in your hand to be hunted; and ye shall know that I am the LORD.
Because with lies ye have made the heart of the righteous sad, whom I have not made sad; and strengthened the hands of the wicked, that he should not return from his wicked way, by promising him life:
Therefore ye shall see no more vanity, nor divine divinations: for I will deliver my people out of your hand: and ye shall know that I am the LORD.